Violence against Arbaeen pilgrims not only continued today, but a bomber was
able to plant explosives less than 1 km from an important shrine in Karbala. This
attack and others across Iraq left at least 22 Iraqis dead and another 53 wounded.
soldier died from non-combat causes in Baghdad on Sunday. Meanwhile, amidst
signs of a warming relationship between Tehran and Washington, Iran requested
the release of its citizens currently held by U.S. authorities in Iraq; as many
as five men, possibly diplomats, are in custody.
A roadside bomb planted
less than 1 km from the Imam Hussein shrine blasted
12 pilgrims to their deaths and wounded another 45 in Karbala. The
Arbaeen observance marks forty days since the Ashoura holiday, which commemorates
the martyrdom of Imam Hussein. The Imam, who was a grandson of Muhammad, is buried
at the shrine. The schism between Shi'ites and Sunnis began with his death. Arbaeen
is among the most important festivals of the Shi'ite religious calendar and thousands
of pilgrims make the journey to Karbala for the culmination of the observance.
Because many travel by foot, it makes them easy targets for sectarian violence.
In Mosul, four
policemen were killed and five others were wounded during a roadside bomb
attack that targeted a police patrol. Gunmen killed
a senior member of the Sunni Arab Iraqi Islamic Party during a drive-by shooting.
Separately, gunmen also killed
senior member of the National Dialogue Front.
In Baghdad, fourteen
suspects were captured and three hostages were freed.
Police defused a
bomb in Zaafaraniya.
dumped bodies were found in Saidiya.
of a taxi driver was found in an orchard in Iskandariya.
body was found near Diwaniya.
In Baquba, a bomb hidden in garbage wounded
Five suspects were captured
A series of rocket strikes at Camp Echo near
Diwaniya left no reported casualties.
Weapons launchers were confiscated
in Kirkuk. A roadside bomb was detonated in a controlled
Iranian artillery bombed
suspected Kurdish rebel locations in northeastern Iraq.
detainees, held in Kurdistan since 2006, were freed
after a meeting between Kurdish and Arab officials. Most of the detainees are
originally from Ninewa province.
During a press conference, Kurdish President
Massoud Barzani argued
that provincial elections demonstrated federalism would be a better track for
Iraq than a highly centralized government. Relations between Kurdistan
and the central government have grown tense over the last year, with Kurdish officials
at times allegedly calling
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki a dictator. The Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr
Mottak was in attendance.
Residents of Camp Ashraf claimed
that security forces refused entry to their relatives for a visit. The camp is
home to a group of Iranian refugees who fear returning home to torture and execution.
Iraq would like to see the camp closed and could likely be prohibiting visitation
to encourage to the group to leave on their own. No third country has been willing
to accept the group. Iraq, Iran and the U.S. view the group as terrorists, but
the E.U. recently took the group of its own terror lists.
that four Guantánamo detainees who are now in Iraqi custody are not wanted
for crimes but will be held for two more weeks to determine if they are threats
to security. The group was captured in Afghanistan.
by Margaret Griffis